YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A massive dogfighting bust in South Carolina has an already overburdened animal shelter system past capacity and sending dogs out of state for help.
Last month, Channel 9′s Dan Matics told you about more than 300 dogs seized in York County as part of a joint law enforcement operation against dogfighting.
Animal shelters in York County were already overcrowded, like so many others we’ve seen.
Then, add the state’s largest dogfighting bust and you’ve got a crisis compounded.
Federal and state agents raided 23 properties in York and surrounding counties and made more than 20 arrests of people allegedly involved in dogfighting.
In the process, 305 dogs were rescued.
“I definitely think there’s an emotional impact for the staff as a whole from these different cases to see the animals come in and see the physical impact, but also the mental impact of what they went though. We tend to take that on,” siad Bobbie Comer with York County Animal Services.
The agency took in 50 pit bulls and 30 beagles from that raid. She said they were able to send the animals to out-of-state organizations that could help them, but the shelter here is still over capacity.
“We are overwhelmed,” Comer said. “Like many shelters in South Carolina, we are feeling the impacts of the shelter crisis and the influx of animals definitely added more to our plate.”
After the dogs were taken in, the humane society got so crowded the office’s conference room became a makeshift kennel.
“We use every space available,” she said.
The biggest thing people can do to prevent cases like this is to spay and neuter their pets, Comer said. It helps to prevent overpopulation, which allows them to handle a crisis when one arises like we saw last month.
“It inundates us, because we are already at capacity or over capacity. The whole system is. It puts us in emergency mode at the time,” she said.
The investigation into the dogfighting bust is still ongoing and prosecutors told Channel 9 more charges could be coming. They warned involvement in dog fighting is a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison.
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